Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Liver damage in Hepatitis C patients could be treated with warfarin

31.07.2008
The drug warfarin may help prevent liver failure in thousands of people with Hepatitis C, according to new research.

In a study published tomorrow (1 August) in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, researchers show that warfarin reduces the scarring on the liver caused by Hepatitis C. This scarring, or fibrosis, replaces normal liver cells and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and ultimately liver failure.

Following the new findings in mouse models, the Imperial College London researchers are now embarking on a clinical trial of warfarin as a treatment for people with Hepatitis C, funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

There are an estimated 300,000 people in the UK with chronic Hepatitis C. The disease progresses much more quickly in some patients than in others and around one in five of those infected will develop cirrhosis.

Treatment to clear the infection is currently effective in only around 50 percent of patients and can have considerable unpleasant side effects such as fatigue, nausea and depression. If this treatment fails, there are no currently effective therapies to slow the progression of fibrosis.

The new research looks at how warfarin affects the progression of fibrosis in mice with chronic liver injury. Warfarin is already used to prevent and treat blood clots in people with artificial heart valves, deep vein thrombosis, and a host of other conditions.

A previous study by the same researchers demonstrated that in Hepatitis C, scarring of the liver accelerates in those patients who are prone to form blood clots. This led the researchers to believe that warfarin’s anti-clotting properties might enable the drug to fight the disease.

The new study showed that treatment with warfarin significantly reduces the progression of fibrosis in normal mice with chronic liver injury. It also shows that warfarin reduces the progression of fibrosis in mice with chronic liver injury and a genetic mutation known as Factor V Leiden (FVL), which causes fibrosis to progress at a much faster rate than usual because it amplifies the body’s clotting mechanisms.

Professor Mark Thursz, one of the authors of the study from the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: “At the moment there are a great many people with Hepatitis C who have no treatment options left and it would transform their lives if we could prevent them from developing liver failure. We are looking forward to seeing the results of our upcoming trial in humans now that we’ve had such promising results in the trial in mice.”

Dr Quentin Anstee, an MRC Clinical Research Fellow and the corresponding author of the study from Imperial College London, added: “If we have positive results from the new trial, we will have a potential treatment that is already available and very cheap, and which should be safe enough for people to take. If we are successful in Hepatitis C patients, we are hopeful that such treatment might benefit people with liver damage from other causes, and this is something we would be keen to study further.”

The researchers are recruiting 90 patients for the new trial who have undergone a liver transplant as a result of liver failure caused by hepatitis C. A third of such patients progress very rapidly to fibrosis following transplantation.

The researchers hope that treating these patients with warfarin will prevent this liver damage and improve their prognosis. Transplant patients have a liver biopsy every year following transplantation to assess their progress, and the researchers will analyse data from this biopsy to establish the effectiveness of the warfarin treatment. The two-year trial will take place across five centres including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which has integrated with Imperial College London to form the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre.

The trial is taking place in transplant patients because the researchers estimate that it would take 10-15 years to conduct a trial in patients in whom the disease was progressing at a normal rate.

Laura Gallagher | alfa
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>